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51 Billion Calories and Counting

Meal Planning Urged to Cut Food Waste, Improve Nutrition From the Ground up

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What America doesn't eat is becoming as concerning as what it does, and meal-planning tools from can help reduce food waste and build "Nutrition From the Ground Up," this year's National Nutrition Month® theme.

According to "The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact," a report published in the journal PLoS ONE, 1,400 calories of food per person per day are wasted in the United States. This equals 51 billion calories of daily food waste in California alone. And, while some waste occurs during manufacturing and distribution, more than half of all food waste occurs at the consumer level.

"Making a weekly meal plan -- and sticking to it -- are simple and effective ways to improve nutrition from the ground up," said registered dietitian Andrea Garen with Dairy Council of California, sponsor of the Meals Matter website. "Meal planning helps families manage food choices over a week's time, which can reduce food waste and may even help families trim their waistlines. Using a shopping list and purchasing only those foods you know you'll use in the coming week also minimizes food waste and helps you avoid those impulse buys."

Generally, meals prepared in the home are less expensive, provide more nutrients and likely contain fewer calories than restaurant meals or takeout. Additionally, with the help of simple meal-planning tools, healthy meals can be prepared in a short amount of time. Garen recommends the free Meal Planner, Cookbook, Pantry Planner and Shopping List available from Meals Matter.

Garen also recommends the following healthy-eating tips from Meals Matter and the American Dietetic Association, sponsors of National Nutrition Month®:

  • Eat moderate portions of a wide variety of foods from all the food groups. Encourage low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, beans and nuts.
  • Don't think of foods as "good" or "bad." Instead, choose foods that provide the most vitamins and nutrients per calorie.
  • Set a healthy-eating example. Children learn their habits, attitudes and behaviors from parents and caregivers. Involve children in planning, shopping for and preparing family meals for best results.

For more information on National Nutrition Month®, please visit the American Dietetic Association at

Meals Matter is a free family nutrition and meal-planning website staffed by registered dietitians and sponsored by Dairy Council of California. Healthy Eating Made Easier®

SOURCE Dairy Council of California

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SOURCE Dairy Council of California
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